This blog post contains pictures and links to gifted products, but is not part of the collaboration.
It has been a few months since I shared our plans for the kitchen (read about that here) and now here we are, six months later and the kitchen is finished!
I’ll be honest, taking on the kitchen renovation straight after the hallway was pretty exhausting. Would I trade the exhaustion for my smelly kitchen? No! It has definitely been worth it and I can hardly believe that the ‘room of doom’ has now been transformed into one of my favourite rooms of the house.
What we started with…
When we bought the house, it had been empty for over a year and rented out previously. The previous owners had not taken care of it properly and I reckon the kitchen had been in place for over 20 years. It was smelly, it was peeling and it was badly designed.
The first thing we did was to install a new boiler and we had the original boiler moved from by the back door to the far end of the kitchen. Immediately this increased the light in the kitchen. We then had to wait a little longer for our kitchen plans to be realised as we had to pay for a new roof on the whole house – an expense that was not expected!
This did reduce our budget and we had a rethink. We decided that we wouldn’t go ahead with our original plan to open up the wall at the end of the kitchen and we decided to source a freestanding piece of furniture for a larder cupboard, rather than have a built in one (read more about how we did that here).
From design to strip out
The original layout of the kitchen is what you find in most Victorian terraced houses – a narrow galley kitchen that often includes a knock through to original outhouses or outside toilets. The layout included a separate area where we keep our fridge/freezer, boiler and other white goods. There are two windows and a door leading out to the back garden/yard and the flooring is the original flooring.
We did not fit the kitchen ourselves and instead decided to choose our kitchen fitters first and get a quote from them. They measured up and we discussed our plans and they then gave us quotes from four companies for us to compare. We decided on a company called TKC, which are company based near Manchester. We chose them because they were reasonably priced and I liked the ranges they had. Our kitchen fitters also had an account with them so could deal with them directly. We decided on shaker style cupboards with a Belfast sink and wooden worktops.
What is great about the kitchen fitters we chose, D’Alton Building & Kitchens, is that they can take on the whole room. Our kitchen needed plastering and a stud wall creating for the radiator, plus other remedial work as you can imagine with the age of the house. They were able to deal with this for us which really helped. Mr S is an electrician so he stripped out and rewired the kitchen before the main work started.
I would definitely take this approach again because when there were products missing (which there weren’t a lot of, I admit), D’Alton Building & Kitchens dealt with all of that. This took a load off our mind and we could deal with the other things that we needed to organise. I have heard of other horror stories with companies where the items didn’t arrive, they arrived damaged or that their customer support wasn’t helpful and I can honestly say that we didn’t have any of this to contend with. It really helped that our kitchen fitters had a direct contact at the company.
From installation to the week before filling the cupboards
It didn’t take long for the kitchen to take shape and it was completed within the week. There were a couple of things that we needed changing – a couple more shelves etc. – and soon the worktops and appliances were being installed too.
We chose wooden worktops from a local company which DBK Limited then installed for us. Once that was done I sealed them with Fiddes Hard Wax Oil. I wasn’t too sure initially about whether to have wooden worktops. I knew that I wanted the texture of wood in the kitchen, but I was concerned about any potential damage that could be done. I read a great blog post from @greenbankinteriors and also spoke to Hollie at @renovating_number_16 and they both have wooden worktops and highly recommended the product.
Fiddes Hard Wax Oil is really good quality and easy to use. I applied two coats to the worktop by the hob and three coats to the worktop by the sink. I am prepared to retreat this area in future and so far there have been no stains, scratches or damage – I’m no light weight in the kitchen either!
The six day run up to filling the cupboards
I felt that this needed a section of its own!!
The kitchen renovation was booked in with a weekend away with friends already arranged and family coming over the weekend after. We had exactly six days to completely clear the dining room of all of the things we had stored there from the kitchen. This wasn’t going to be as easy as just unpacking boxes though! When I say we had six days, that wasn’t six full days as we both work, so it only really left evenings and Saturday to get through the jobs that were left.
I had tiled the Friday before (more on that soon) so they needed to be grouted and the plastered walls needed a mist coat. There was a lot to do but I love a list and so I broke it down so that each day had tasks to be completed.
It was tough, but everything was done and the dining room was cleared by the Saturday night. I then collapsed on the sofa and hoped that family would accept me, eye bags and all, the next day!
The finishing touches
Since we had decided on a neutral cabinets (if we were staying here longer than I would have had colour there) I wanted to bring some colour in through the tiles. I chose the tiles from the Lampas range at Topps Tiles in the Peacock colour. I really like that the tiles have added texture so the light hits them differently. I had toyed with the idea of doing a herringbone pattern, but with the added plug sockets in the area I decided to just keep it simple and do a brick pattern.
Against the tiles we planned to have open shelving. I really wanted the shelf brackets to be a feature too and found the prism shelf brackets from the Hair Pin Leg Company. They work perfectly with the open shelving here and we have used them for two other shelves in the utility area and by the sink too. They are easy to install and sturdy shelf brackets. I’m really please with how the brackets look against the tiles too.
The scaffold boards were bought and cut down to size and I coated them with Fiddes Hard Wax Oil. We store the plates, bowls and cups that we use most regularly. Often people wonder how dusty or sticky open shelving gets, and I can honestly say that apart from wiping down the odd glass or plate, I haven’t had any problems. I obviously wipe them down, but because we only store the items that we use the most, I don’t find this to be a problem.
When choosing the kitchen and all the finishing touches I wanted to stay true to the age of the house but also recognise that the kitchen has to keep up with our modern day demands. This was one of the reasons why I chose the aged brass handles from Yesterhome. I wanted a really heavy weight and tough handle, and the aged brass ties in the original features that are already in the kitchen and the age of the house too. There are two designs here – one for the drawers and one for the cupboard doors.
I’ve got to talk about the sink! I have always wanted a Belfast sink. The sink is big enough for us as we have a dishwasher and only really use the sink to wash things that cannot go in there. Saying that, I have a washing up bowl in the sink that is only half the size of our Belfast sink and so I can often use that to rinse off and then I have a microfibre mat as a drainer. This can be taken off and dried on the radiator and is washable too. It means that we actually have to clear everything off the drainer, but that can’t be a bad thing can it?! I chose this tap is from Victorian Plumbing and is in keeping with the Belfast sink and the age of the house also.
At this point the kitchen was pretty much finished, but there was something missing. I had ordered a tea towel from Mia Felce because the green matched the colour of the tiles. In the design was a shade of pink and it inspired me! We had some quirky areas of the kitchen due to a stud wall and recessed windows, plus there was the door to the cellar that needed a lick of paint too. In September I met a paint company at an interiors show called Fenwick & Tilbrook and I could see for myself that their paint was really good quality. I decided on the shade Florence which is the a great match for the shade in the tea towel. I painted all the quirky areas in this shade of pink, including the cellar door and I LOVE it! When the sun shines through the window it creates a lovely pink hue. Perfect.
I still can’t believe how long we lasted with the kitchen how it was before. I’m not a fantastic cook by any means, but it certainly makes it feel better when you can cook in a kitchen that you enjoy spending time in. It’s been great to support a local business and other small businesses in this project too. I’ve tried to include links to all the products that we have used to please click through as it should take you to their website.
If you’ve got any other questions then please comment below and as always I can be found at @houseofspolland on Instagram.